I had seen several people talk about this book and I was very intrigued, especially after reading the description. After only a few pages it became quickly apparent that this book was going to make it onto my favourites list.
The Starless Sea is a magical tale of a mysterious labyrinthian library, hidden away. As a child Zachary Ezra Rawlins stumbles across an elusive painted door, not understanding the rarity or significance of it. The door remains unopened and forgotten… That is, until Zachary stumbles across an old book in his university library which contains this memory from his childhood. Soon he is thrown into a world of magic (not that Mirabel approves of the word), romance and mystery (courtesy of the handsome, barefooted, Dorian).
Simply put, I adored every single character in this novel. Zachary was a fantastic protagonist and incredibly likeable. I was also pleasantly surprised to see that his passion was for video games and books. I can’t remember the last time I related so much to a protagonist! I especially loved his geeky references to games scattered through the novel (“It’s dangerous to go alone” earned several snorts from me in particular). Mirabel and Dorian were great companions for his journey too. Each of their personalities were so different and unique to them, yet they all meshed perfectly. I would have loved to have seen more of Dorian in the novel, however that is me being greedy rather than an actual issue that I had with the novel.
The narrative of this novel was masterfully done, I experienced many ‘penny drop’ moments which made the general experience of reading The Starless Sea incredibly satisfying on several levels. I loved how the novel was broken up into parts and how each part incorporated a different book from the library. The jumping between what is happening in the present and what was written in the stories was brilliantly done and were also woven together seamlessly. The variations in the sentence structures in all of these sections too also made the novel a joy to read and deepened the meanings behind the words. You could tell Morgenstern had carefully crafted this novel and a lot of thought went into each word. There was even a lyrical quality to the way the novel read, which I particularly enjoyed.
It goes without saying at this point, as you can clearly see from the way that I am gushing over this novel how much I enjoyed it. This is definitely a novel that I will be re-reading as I was genuinely sad when I had finished it as I didn’t know what to do with myself afterwards, I felt at a loss (but in a good way). If this book hasn’t already made it onto your shelves (either read or unread), I implore you to add it.